Refugee and migrant women are marking International Women’s Day 2018 on Thursday (March 8) by lobbying parliament to call on British politicians to support their rights.
Under the banner of ‘All Women Count’, the event is supported by over 40 organisations including Women for Refugee Women, UNHCR, Liberty, Care International UK, and politicians including Stella Creasy, Jess Phillips, Kate Green, and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.
Abbott said: “Refugee and migrant women are often struggling to be heard. They can and do make such a great contribution to this country, but also face some very grave challenges. I’m glad to support their campaigns for greater liberty, dignity and safety.
“It’s time for us in parliament to ensure that this centenary year for women’s suffrage is about listening to and including all women, especially those who have been historically marginalised from British politics.”
According to Women For Refugee Women, each year over 4,000 asylum-seeking and migrant women are locked up in immigration detention centres, while others find it difficult to access healthcare, education and employment, leaving them at risk of ending up destitute, at risk of exploitation or homeless.
— UNHCR United Kingdom (@UNHCRUK) March 1, 2018
Marchu Girma, grassroots director at Women for Refugee Women, said: “A century on from women getting the vote, there are some women in our society whose voices are still unheard.
“For far too long refugee and migrant women have gone unheard, and now we are now asking for our needs to safety, dignity, liberty to be met. We believe all women count.”
In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.
Those attending have been encouraged by the All Women Count website to find their local MP’s contact details and send them a templated letter outlining the reasons for the march and inviting them to meet with their constituents, and to sign a pledge to support the rights of refugee women.
The event will take place in Committee Room 10 at the House Of Commons from 12.30-3.30pm.